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June 11, 2013

Reading in bed: Why the iPad mini trumps physical books

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crossed the Rubicon early last month, when I began the hardcover version of John le Carré's "A Delicate Truth."

By the time I got the book propped up just so on its corner, leaning against a pillow, my glasses on, my reading lamp focused and centered on the book, my head aligned perfectly on my pillow, and Gray Cat comfortably ensconced in the crook of my arm, her wonderfully thrumming and gently vibrating furry back against my chest, her front paws nestled on top of my forearm, the needle-sharp tips of her claws resting gently on my skin, I was locked in position, so comfortable and delicately poised I was unable to move enough to turn the page so I closed my eyes and went to sleep.

This repeated itself a night or two more before it became apparent I would never, ever be able to get into the book if things stayed the way they were: there were simply too many moving parts.

So I bought the Kindle version of the book, downloaded it to my iPad mini and lo and behold, all of a sudden reading in bed was a snap.

No worries about glasses (I simply enlarged the typeface till I could see it comfortably without); light (no need for a lamp since the screen is perfectly lit, just the way I like it); no having to hold the book just so or lose my grip entirely since the rubbery mini case stays right where I put it on the bottom sheet; and all it took to turn a page was a delicate finger swipe from either hand.

Game over.

Books on paper in bed are dead to me.

Danielle Ofri demurs but she'll come around.


Note added at 7:31 a.m. Wednesday, June 12, in response to Flautist's comment ("So, after the changeover, visibility, illumination, and grip are just right, but no mention of Gray Cat...was she adjusted out, or was she allowed to assume her position?"):

The entire exercise was a 21st century version of Muhammad's sleeve.

From Wikipedia:



My entire bedtime ritual is focused on Gray Cat: her comfort and my resulting bliss once it has been achieved.

After the transition to the mini was complete, her usual and customary practice of finding a perfect nook right up under my chin, against my neck, chest, and left arm (I lie on my left side for bedtime reading) was made effortless and free.

The way we like it.

"Heaven is a Place on Earth" is not just the title of a great Belinda Carlisle song.

Wait a sec... what's that music I'm hearing?

June 11, 2013 at 08:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mini Milk Table

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Designed by Søren Rose.

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Très chic (and dear).

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From the website:


Mini Milk is a minimalist, elegant, yet completely functional side table.

With a small footprint, the Mini Milk proves that smaller isn't lesser, offering the same storage and cord management solutions as tables twice its size.

Available in two fixed heights:

• High [top]: 42.13"H x 42.75"W x 18.5"D

• Low [below]: 28.75"H x 42.75"W x 18.5"D

Features and Details:

• Cable management

• Notebook storage slot

• Two storage compartments

• Lacquered MDF, powder-coated metal base


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June 11, 2013 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Helpful Hints from joeeze: "Does covering a pot really make water boil faster?"

So asked one Emily Giorgio of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in a question featured in the "Note From Readers" feature of the July & August issue of Cook's Illustrated.

The magazine's crack researcher Andrea Geary answered it thus:


When you heat water in an open pot, some of the energy that could be raising the temperature of the liquid escapes with the vapor. But as long as more energy is being added to the water than is being lost with the vapor, the temperature will continue to rise until the water boils. Covering the pot prevents water vapor from escaping, enabling the temperature to rise more quickly. How much more quickly? In our experience, not a lot. When we brought 4 quarts of water to a boil in covered and uncovered stainless steel Dutch ovens, the covered pot boiled in just over 12 minutes and the uncovered pot boiled in 13 minutes and 15 seconds. But why waste even a small amount of heat when it's so easy not to? That said, since you're not losing time or energy until the water begins to steam, put the water on to heat first and then go hunting for the lid.

June 11, 2013 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

ScotchLock Butt Connectors


Oh, relax, not that kind — what's wrong with you, anyway?

Don't you know where you are?


Here's Oliver Start's Cool Tools review of a useful device.


I came across Scotchlok series connectors when preparing to replace the sensor within my fridge. Rather than the traditional cut-replace-solder-heatshrink, I used these. They're particularly useful because:

• A soldering iron isn't required; great where there isn't much space to work or the location is remote

• They seal the connection from moisture ingress with a gel

• No additional insulation or sleeving is required

To join two wires, you just insert both wires into the connector and clamp the colored cap down using pliers.

No need to strip wires, which saves even more time. It creates a connection by driving the wire into a "U" contact, displacing the insulation. The gel is released at the same time which protects the connection from moisture.

I've not had any in use for more than a few months but so far, so good. 3M has apparently been producing these for over 50 years [!] and they're used widely in telecom applications.

The Scotchlok range seems to cover applications from larger gauge low-voltage applications down to smaller data cables such as CAT5. There are also tap connectors that allow you to tap into another wire without breaking the connection.


Pack of 100: $10.77.

June 11, 2013 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: 496 Anesthesiologists on Twitter — A public list by Scott Buehler

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Choose your poison — or more aptly, poisoner.

I forget which of my attendings at U.C.L.A. used the term "controlled poisoning" to describe anesthesia but it remains as accurate and valid a description as I have ever heard.

Caveat doctor.

June 11, 2013 at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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